Hobbies and Passions in the Mid Atlantic forum: My Life on the Water

 
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ImageHollyAnnS
Feb 22, 2010 11:20 PM CST
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
It was J and I with our instructor out in a rather small boat in somewhat rough water. Really it doesn't matter if the water is rough once you go down a few feet and get out of the wave wash it is calm. Getting out of the boat is no big deal you just jump in. Hold your mask and reg to your face and your gauges at your waist and jump feet first. It is so cool on top of the water looking down, 35, 60,100 ft or more in those waters you can easily see the sandy ocean floor while you descend. You have several tasks that you must preform to certify. Remove your mask, reg, and vest underwater and put them back on show bouncy control, do a buddy breathe and a few other tasks. All things I had been taught in the pool and they were accomplished easily. One thing they didn't cover in class is what do you do if you have to vomit underwater. Yep, just a touch of Sea Sickness. There I was 45 feet down and no one had ever talked about this. Couldn't exactly ask now. So I'm thinking can you heave underwater? Yes you can, just pull that reg out of your mouth heave rinse your mouth out with a little ocean water and put the reg back in. Then as you are hanging there thinking I didn't just do that and you see all this stuff floating around you and think gross, all these little fishes come out and eat it all up. Yep feeding the fishes that is just what you did. Then you happily get on with the dive. Oh how exciting seeing all the fish and pretty coral after about a 20 min tour around the reef it is time to get back on the boat. Oh yeah now is when the rough ocean waves become an issue. The boat we were using had a large ladder hinged on the back. It is an open ladder which means the there is one center column with the ladder rungs coming off it and the sides of the ladder are open. You leave your fins on and climb the ladder with the fins still on your feet. Ok, but we still have the back of the boat going up and down and the hinged ladder swings up and down. So you just kind of hang in the water at the back of the boat far enough away so the ladder doesn't hit you in the face. Then when it swings down you kind of jump on it. By then it has started to swing back up so you hang on like your riding a bucking bronco, remember you still have those fins on your feet. Then as it starts to swing back down you climb out as fast as you can. Meanwhile your dive buddy has been watching all this in horror and now must do it herself. As soon as you are both safety back in the boat you you can think about and talk about is what you saw and when can I get back in for the next dive. That ladder isn't so scary. Sticking tongue out

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Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
http://cubits.org/MidAtlanticMusings/thread/view/5752/
ImageHollyAnnS
Feb 23, 2010 12:01 AM CST
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
So we have both our dives in for the first day and we are heading out for our second day and the last two certification dives. The rough ocean has gotten rougher even the fishing boats aren't going out. Ric looked out at the ocean and said you aren't going out in that are you? But we needed to get in two more dives or we aren't certified. It's Ok with us we are full of confidence. Still just the three of us, the dive master had a really hard time getting the boat hooked up to the mooring ball as neither of us were any help. We were both sporting some very large and lovely bruises from the ladder the day before but hey what's a bruise or two......or six. Gearing up on the rocking boat was interesting we needed to be fast and get down into the calmer water as quickly as we could. As soon as we got down to 45ft I fed the fishes again just like I had the day before. We did all our required skills and a short tour of the reef and up we came. This dive required us to remove our gear in the water on the surface. So after our dive master got back on the boat he tossed out a buoy and rope, I think he was afraid he might lose us. So here we are in progressively rough seas taking off our gear and putting it back on while trying to hang on to a buoy rope. J just gave up and let go she just couldn't quite get her gear back on while holding the rope. As she was drifting away the dive-master kept saying in a calm voice don't let go of the rope. His face didn't look too calm, though. Well we both accomplished our tasks and made it back on the boat. We had one more dive we had to do. Dive master looked at us after our surface interval and said we need to go down and do these skills then we are coming right back up no touring the reef. Neither of us argued in we went for a quick 10 min dive and out we came. Back on dry land sitting and have a celebratory drinks with the DM while he is filling out our certification papers. He's telling us how great we did and how surprised he was that we would have gone out in those seas for our first open water dives. Most all the other dive boats canceled their dives that second day we were the only boat that went out from that dive center that day and it is the biggest dive center on that island. What a great start and the beginning of an exciting new part of My Life "In" The Water.
Holly hanging off the wall Grand Turk

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Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
http://cubits.org/MidAtlanticMusings/thread/view/5752/
ImageJan
Feb 23, 2010 8:32 AM CST
Name: Jan Jackson
south Jersey
Ohhh, I'm so enjoying this. I agree, the first time you breathe underwater even in a pool is the most amazing revelation. I shouldn't be doing this, but I am. I took a class in college in preparation for 5 weeks on an island in the Exumas. One of the biology professors was an icthyologist and would spend time in the Bahamas during the summer. The summer of '71 he planned to take 8 students and teach two college courses, for which we got credit. It was a private island with just one house and a 'field station' run by Grinnell College. There were a few students from there that were doing independent studies with the goal of getting published, the 10 of us, and a caretaker. The field station had a kitchen, bunkrooms, a laboratory, living room, 2 bedrooms, and an atrium. We took turns cooking and doing chores, going to class and our own projects. The generator was turned off at night. I lost 25 # in those 5 weeks. I t was AWESOME!!!!! We did do some dives off from the island. That's when I found out I could only dive to 25', otherwise my nose would bleed and the others didn't want to be around 'shark bait'. Crying There were mangoe trees and I still have trouble eating a mangoe. There are only so many things you can do with them.
Imagestormyla
Feb 23, 2010 10:04 AM CST
Name: Stormy
Valley Forge Pa
I Love MAM ~ So Happy Together
LOL I love mangoes! Always looking for new ways to use them!

Holly your narrative is wonderful. I love how you've described your emotions and the actual physical challenges of your first open water dive. When we sail in warmer weather we often toss the anchor and go in for a swim. There have been times when all of us have been in the water and the bay has gotten choppier. Getting up on the ladder is not the easiest thing under those conditions, and I've never tried it with flippers on!

Like you & J, my sailing buddies and I are an adventurous lot and aren't always as mindful of the safety rules as we should be. Maybe it has something to do with us all being female and having to prove that we can do it. In 20 years of sailing, I've never seen anyone on our boat wear a life jacket.

A few times it's crossed my mind that maybe we should always leave someone on the boat, and we've talked about it, but we never do. Normally, just as we jump in, we each take one of those combo seat cushion/flotation devices and toss them into the water. There's been times when we've forgotten them and someone's had to go back on board and get them. Usually we toss soap and shampoo in with us and have to swim to get all of the floating stuff. We toss it back and forth to one another as we're finished using it.

Loved the stories of feeding the fish, both your's and Jan's. Thumbs up

Did anyone see that movie that's been on cable recently where everyone was in the water off of their boat and no one could get back in? They were out there in the water for days. It was brutal.
ImageJan
Feb 23, 2010 3:02 PM CST
Name: Jan Jackson
south Jersey
More Holly, please. So glad I didn't have to do a quarry dive. I live being able to see around me.
ImageHollyAnnS
Feb 23, 2010 3:23 PM CST
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
Jan, I remember your saying that you had been in Exumas for a college course. What a wonderful experience. Do you have more stories to share? I would love to hear more about your weeks there. It is such a shame you can't dive much. That must have been a real disappointment. Have you ever seen a Dr about it? There are specialists that deal with Dive Medicine. I was lucky that my Allergist is a diver so he could evaluate my Asthma and clear me for diving.
Stormy I think I would have loved sailing with you and your friends it sounds like such good times. What great memories you have. No I didn't see the movie I know there have been a few movies made like that but I can't think of any I've seen recently, if you come up with a title I can Netflix it.
Lobster Dinner anyone? Cozumel, Mexico

Thumbnail by HollyAnnS

Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
http://cubits.org/MidAtlanticMusings/thread/view/5752/
Imagebeckygardener
Feb 23, 2010 8:42 PM CST
Name: Becky
Florida Zone 9b/10a
Ah yes! Love catching lobster! Hee, hee! That was my dh's favorite part of diving. I, on the other hand loved to do underwater photography and catching small salt water fish for our aquarium. But alas ... that was over 22+ years ago... before kids. :-( I haven't dove since. But Boy oh boy do I have some great memories. :-)

I did scuba diving for several years. Was Vice-President of a local diving club of about 100 members at one point. Planned lots of group trips with group rates! Loved saving a buck or two and diving with a large group of friends. And my favorite out-of-the-USA dive vacation was Bonaire. A diver's dream trip! (sigh) All my pics are on slides. Which is a bummer now ...

Looking at all the great water photos here brings back such great memories for me! Thanks for tapping my old brain and bringing up wonderful memories of years ago ...
Another Day in Paradise!
Image1AnjL
Feb 23, 2010 9:09 PM CST
Name: AnjL/Annmarie
CA Sierra Mts
wow! what a wonderful thread! and great photos/stories! Although I am the opposite and have a phobia of water... I will certainly come browse your pictures here! Beautiful!
All Things Hobby
All the coffee in Columbia will never make me a morning person!
ImageHollyAnnS
Feb 23, 2010 9:46 PM CST
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
Becky, I waited until my children were mostly grown before I started. I have never made it to Bonaire but I use to visit the ReefCam and dream. I would love it if you have stories of your diving to share. Do you live very close to the Ocean or Gulf, would be nice to be close enough to just toss some gear in the car and go.
1Anjl, Sorry to hear of your phobia of water. It is a pretty common one, a lot of people are. My Mother is, that was why she made sure I could swim really good and she didn't want me to have the same fears that she had.
Sunset over the Gulf. Green Key, Fl

Thumbnail by HollyAnnS

Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
http://cubits.org/MidAtlanticMusings/thread/view/5752/
Image1AnjL
Feb 23, 2010 9:51 PM CST
Name: AnjL/Annmarie
CA Sierra Mts
LOL, I did the same with my kids....they all took lessons just so I wouldnt ever have to jump in to save them! Smiling
All Things Hobby
All the coffee in Columbia will never make me a morning person!
ImageJan
Feb 23, 2010 9:55 PM CST
Name: Jan Jackson
south Jersey
I have heard Bonaire is a special place. I'm hoping to do some snorkeling in St John in Aug. when we have a port day in St Thomas. I'd rather miss the shopping and go to St John with the grandkids.

During our stay on Jewfish Cay off of Exuma, one of the guys had a project about lobster migration. He set up a grid away from the island. He and a spotter were dropped off so he could do his 'count'. Just snorkeling cuz it wasn't very deep. Now, mind you these are coral islands and are very sharp to walk on if they haven't been eroded. Keep that in mind please as we continue. Near his grid was a little coral outcropping that poked up out of the water. This one particular day I was his spotter and I am doing my job. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a barracuda kinda coming our way. Also keep in mind the pick-up boat is nowhere to be seen. I am watching and watching as it comes closer and closer. It was kinda going back and forth and I am starting to get a little anxious. I am sure that if the boat was within eyesight things would have been different. I get the guys attention by banging him on his shoulder, knocking his snorkel tube and mask off his face. I guess I was strong. I pointed and made a beeline for the outcrop and pulled myself out of the water and refused to go back in until the boat came back. For some reason I had a panic attack. I felt kinda dumb, but that was what I felt. I love looking at the underwater world though. Hopefully, if I ever have the chance again, I won't panic.
ImageJan
Feb 23, 2010 9:58 PM CST
Name: Jan Jackson
south Jersey
1Anjl, my mom also doesn't like the water. Probably due to the fact that her brother drowned near Annapolis, MD as a young teen. We did send her and my dad on a cruise on the Delta Queen down the mighty Mississippi from St. Paul to St. Louis. She didn't have a problem with that cuz she could see the shore.
Image1AnjL
Feb 23, 2010 10:09 PM CST
Name: AnjL/Annmarie
CA Sierra Mts
Oh I like cruises! We've been to Alaska twice on cruises. I love the sunsets and beaches... I just dont like being IN water Big Grin I know my phobia came from a couple of near drownings when I was a kid and I just never got over them afterwards. But I love watching the waves hit the beach, sun rising on the water, etc... and one of my goals is to take photos of all the remaining light houses on the west coast here. I just prefer to do that from a dry spot Smiling If I'm in water, or get water in my face I have a panic attack and well, its not pretty. Whistling
All Things Hobby
All the coffee in Columbia will never make me a morning person!
ImageJan
Feb 23, 2010 10:10 PM CST
Name: Jan Jackson
south Jersey
Ears perked up! I hear you !
Imagebeckygardener
Feb 23, 2010 10:20 PM CST
Name: Becky
Florida Zone 9b/10a
I wonder if there is some way that you could convert slides to digital? I have some really cool underwater photos I took in Bonaire for those that might want to see why it's called Diver's Paradise. I was totally stoked by their amazing coral reefs and sea life.

I'll tell you a funny story. My dh and I used to go down to West Palm Beach to dive with a boat crew a couple of weekends a month. Well, one time we got on the boat there were young guys. Looked to be new to diving and were planning on spear fishing. So we all go into the water and everyone has their dive buddies and is doing their thing. My dh and I were just enjoying the reef and sea life. On this particular reef, there was known to be a very large, but old moray eel. You know the ones ... with a head as big as mine and those razor sharp teeth...

Well, low and behold, I run into this big fella eel. So it alarms me because he is coming towards me. Apparently they are curious creatures. He's swimming around my fins as I am back paddling as fast as I can. I am sure my eyes are nearly popping out of my mask. Anyway, he swims along with me for a bit and then cruises off to the reef below us. I was sighing with relief when I caught a shadow out of the corner of my eye. I looked up and about 8 feet above me is one of the spearfishing divers. He is pointing the speargun in my direction. I about freaked and I am yelling at him (underwater mind you!) and he heard me. So he surfaced with me. His reason for pointing the speargun at me ... "Well, I was going to shoot that eel!" WHAT??? You idiot! I told him ... in a not so nice way! I told him I would be safer being bit by the moray than to be in the path of his spear! He KNEW I was mad! LOL! He was a young guy and didn't have a clue! That was just one close call I had! Not from the ocean or it's creatures, but from a fool and his spear gun! And needless to say, he got reamed out by my dh later as well. LOL!

I got another story about my rare fresh water diving adventure that will raise the hair on the back of your neck ... which is probably why I later hated diving anywhere but the ocean. But I'll save that story for another day ...
Another Day in Paradise!
ImageHollyAnnS
Feb 23, 2010 11:01 PM CST
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
Jan, How sad just a terrible thing to happen. No wonder your mother feels that way.
Coral is very sharp it can really cut you up. Barracuda are spooky. They kinda hang around in a menacing way. We see them quite often on dives and they love to hang out under the boats so the whole time you are doing your hang time they are quite often right there watching you. I don't really know anyone that has been bitten but none of us wear jewelry or anything that might attract them or other fish. My friend J got bit by a blue fish at the beach. It went after the tag on her water shoes. Took a small chunk out of her ankle.
We went down to the Keys for a week and I had been taking Jamie out showing him how to snorkel we saw a few small coral heads and a few small fish. He was doing really good so we went out on a snorkel cruise in John Pennekamp Park. There was a big Barracuda that hung out right where we moored the boat. The boat captain told us we would see him and that as long as we didn't try to get close he wouldn't bother us. He also told us that it had a hook in it's mouth and absolutely do not try to take it out. Apparently someone thought that he could just reach out and pull the hook loose and he had gotten a nasty bite for his actions. I have a couple of Barracuda pics but can't find them right now.
This was taken by my dive partner on the Grand Turk trip.
Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
http://cubits.org/MidAtlanticMusings/thread/view/5752/
ImageHollyAnnS
Feb 23, 2010 11:04 PM CST
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
Forgot the pic

Thumbnail by HollyAnnS

Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
http://cubits.org/MidAtlanticMusings/thread/view/5752/
ImageHollyAnnS
Feb 23, 2010 11:15 PM CST
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
Becky I love that story. You are right that most injuries are caused by divers not the animals. I have heard that most divers that are injured by sharks are spear fisherman. That instead of surfacing and removing their speared fish they carry them along and then when the sharks show up they are all surprised. Generally they don't bother divers.
Shark Realm Adventure Aquarium

Thumbnail by HollyAnnS

Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
http://cubits.org/MidAtlanticMusings/thread/view/5752/
ImageJan
Feb 24, 2010 6:39 AM CST
Name: Jan Jackson
south Jersey
I can't wait, Becky, for the next installment. You are quite fortunate that he didn't shoot.

Thanks, Holly. I know that I should have just chilled, but, I think the panic came cuz the boat wasn't there.

Adventure aquarium in Camden? I took my 5 yr old grandson for his birthday. His mom is homeschooling him and when he did a unit on fish and undersea animals I took him. We practically had the place to ourselves. It was AWESOME!!! I sat down in the tunnel of the shark tank while Henry moved around. He was fascinated. We must have been in there for at least a half hour, then came back later. We were the only ones watching them feed the seals, so we had a show to ourselves.
ImageHollyAnnS
Feb 24, 2010 8:22 AM CST
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
Jan how long ago was that. I was a volunteer scuba diver there for several years. I started when they were shut down for the big renovations. I spent many a day in the Shark Realm tank. It is a very peaceful place. I took a break from volunteering when I had my shoulder surgery and then didn't go back. I loved doing it but had gotten tired of the long drive to get there.
Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
http://cubits.org/MidAtlanticMusings/thread/view/5752/

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